Two Chandler women raise awareness about important causes close to their heart
Local residents Katey McPherson and Tessa Milne have some stand-out qualities in common: both are moms, professionals, and both are passionate about topics that have personally impacted their lives, as well as the lives of those around them. Beyond being just passionate, both ladies have become personally involved in their causes. Here are their stories.
Katey McPherson, executive director of The Gurian Institute on Bullying
McPherson is a mom to four young daughters and spent 20 years as a public school teacher and administrator. During that time, she says she “saw a need for ways to teach students more self-advocacy and social competence skills.”
“In 2005, I had a student attempt suicide on our school campus, and since then have had several students try to harm themselves over relational aggression [or] bullying incidents,” she says. “I am committed to raising awareness for students, parents and community members about ways we can teach students, parents and teachers how to increase social competency skills in our kids starting at a young age.”
To become active in her mission, McPherson joined The Gurian Institute.
“We [The Gurian Institute] host community awareness events, teacher and parent trainings, social competency training for students, internet safety and online device awareness trainings, as well as teacher and parent trainings on the topic of how girls and boys learn differently and what they need inside and outside of the classroom to be successful,” she explains.
So, how can locals get involved?
“Come to one of our events, host an event or training at your school for parents and teachers, talk to your kids about relational aggression and how they feel about it and ways they think you can best support them as they go through the most formative years of their life,” McPherson says. “Be ‘in the know’ kids want guidance and support and want you to ‘get them.’”
For more information, please visit GurianInstitute.com.
Tessa Milne, inspirational speaker and owner of Face Of A Survivor on Domestic Abuse
Milne literally embodies the name of her organization: Face Of A Survivor.
“I became an inspirational speaker to spread awareness on the different forms of abuse, cycles of abuse and to share resources for victims and survivors of abuse and supporters against abuse,” she says. “The information I provide can potentially save lives. I’m extremely passionate about spreading awareness because abuse almost ended my life.”
Milne has been speaking to groups, businesses, at events, schools and more since 2009, and officially began Face of A Survivor last year.
“I’m giving to others what I never had when I was a victim of abuse: support, guidance, inspiration and awareness,” she says. “Together we can make a difference, break the silence and empower.”
“Abuse is more common than people realize, and it comes in so many forms. There are even people going through abuse and don’t even know it because they don’t know all of the different forms of abuse,” she adds.
“Abuse is an issue people are afraid to talk about, ashamed to talk about or have been silenced for so long and don’t know how to use their voice or where to start… It’s time to change this mindset.”
In addition to her public speaking, Milne’s website contains information that is helpful to both victims of abuse and those looking to learn more and help with the cause.
“I use my voice every day to spread awareness about abuse, to encourage others, to potentially save lives,” she says. “Remember this: you have a voice and your voice matters.”
For more information, please visit FaceOfASurvivor.com.